Tag Archives: Arch Enemy

Album Review: Astral Path – Ashes Dancer (2016)

15 Nov


Astral Path are a Post Death Metal band from Italy (not to be confused with the black metal band of the same name from Canada) and consist of Eugene Yu (vocals), Gabriele Papagni (lead guitars), Simone Catania (rhythm guitars), Jasmine Ljuba Canti (bass), Leonardo Santini (keyboards) and Francesco La Porta (drums). Ashes Dancer is their debut album.

We start off with the instrumental “Journey”, a two minute, dark piece with some chilling atmospherics and what I felt was an almost horror movie feel to it. A discordant soundscape. “Blinded” is the longest song on the record at 7 minutes 29 seconds and instantly kicks off with a cool guitar riff. There is a big energy with this track, lots of double bass, crunchy riffs and excellent vocals. Really enjoyed the riff and the Opeth vibe that the song gives off. There is a definite hint of the Gothenburg melo-death sound here, as well as throughout the album as a whole.

Up next is track three “B.L.C” and, speaking of the Gothenburg sound, here comes a song that is parts Dark Tranquillity, parts Opeth and parts At The Gates. The death vocals are unforgiving, the cleans are full with an excellent tone. The guitar riffage is raw and aggressive. “Prelude” is track four and it’s another atmospheric instrumental (1 minute long) containing harmonics and, what sounds like, behind the nut picking. As the title suggests it acts as a prelude to “Ashes Dancer” which starts where “Prelude” finishes off and sounds like something Tool should be singing. Eugene transitions between growls and clean singing with ease. The bass and drums keep a thunderous groove as the songs moves up the gears and we have, I believe, our first guitar solo. Very tasteful and melodic and serves the song well.

“Drag Me Down” is possibly the strongest song on the record and it’s more of same At The Gates style riffing and thrashy/melo-death sound, before it slows down into clean electrics and more of Eugenes fantastic vocals. He is channelling his inner Mikael Akerfeldt on this one and we get another cool, melodic guitar solo from Gabriele. The record finishes up with “Silent Whispers” and “Oblivion” – the former offering up more of the same that has come before, switching between frenetic riffing and slowed down, clean passages as well another really tasteful solo. This is something that the album, overall, lacks for me. Solos! When they are played, they are played really well. As I said, always tasteful, always melodic and serves the songs. I would have liked more throughout. “Oblivion” is another song that starts out like a Tool song with it’s Eastern flavours before an awesome riff kicks in.

Overall this is a well produced, solid album that is worth checking out. The band are clearly influenced by the likes of Opeth, Between The Buried And Me, At The Gates, Arch Enemy and bands that define the Gothenburg sound. There is plenty of talent on display and hopefully this will enable them to develop their sound even more on future releases.

If you like Swedish Melodic Death then you will no doubt find something to enjoy with Ashes Dancer. As I mentioned previously, my only negative would be that I would have liked to have heard more solos but that is just a personal preference.

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